Kansas City Chiefs: Brett Veach Is Making All The Right Moves

Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach before the game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach before the game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images) /

Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach entered this offseason with some tough decisions about his roster. He was tasked with fixing a salary cap issue that has been lingering over the franchise since John Dorsey’s days as GM.

It all started with the release of two iconic defenders in linebacker Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry. Both were aging veterans who were signed to very expensive, back loaded contracts that were keeping the Kansas City Chiefs from making moves they desperately needed to make.

Houston, as I wrote about a month ago, was somewhat of an easy decision. The 30-year old linebacker is still playing at a relatively high level but if we’re being honest, he’s never lived up to that huge contract he signed back in the spring of 2015.

As for Berry, he too signed a massive deal and suffered an Achilles injury in the first game of 2017. We all know that story by now, but it doesn’t make the decision any easier considering what he has meant to the organization and the community.

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Remember when these two were the crowning jewels of the franchise and building blocks moving forward? Time sure does fly in the NFL.

People around the league have always said that the best ability in the NFL is availability. In the case of those two players, they’ve missed significant time since they inked their deals and the Chiefs could no longer carry those kinds of salaries for things they’ve done in the past.

The Chiefs should’ve learned from their mistakes with Tamba Hali’s last contract, yikes.

Brett Veach came into this offseason with a clear plan to clear up cap space with his team. Not only has he been releasing players, but his trade of Dee Ford to San Francisco shows he isn’t messing around.

Gathering a second round pick in 2020 and ridding themselves of $14 million in cap space is seriously huge. Dee Ford had one hell of a year in 2018, but up until then he hadn’t earned the type of contract from the Chiefs that a team like San Francisco was willing to pay.

Veach’s best bet is to collect as many top draft picks he can right now and continue to build around his superstar quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.

Freeing up that kind of cap space gave them the opportunity to land free-agent safety, Tyrann Mathieu. The “Honey Badger” is a younger, healthier version of Eric Berry and will immediately bring an attitude and “Swagger” to the Chiefs defense that they had been missing so badly since the absence of Berry.

The best part about that deal is that Veach locked him up on a front loaded three-year contract. He’s learned that you can sign good players with big money without marrying yourself to them long-term and finding yourself in a messy cap situation down the road.

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This also means that the Chiefs have more flexibility in the draft. I still believe they draft defensive back early in this class, but there isn’t as much pressure to find a day one safety like there was had they not landed Mathieu in free agency.

I like to think too that Veach will taper back a bit from his approach in last year’s draft where he was a tad bit too aggressive with trading and moving up. Veach seems to understand the value of collecting these high draft picks and it seems he and his staff are more focused on the best players they can grab at the position of picks they have.

Brett Veach seems like a young, confident GM and it helps that he’s working with the ultimate chess piece in Mahomes. Having the quarterback situation figured out this early makes things easier, especially when it comes to making the tough decisions.

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Staying ahead of extending players and knowing when to let them go is what will keep the Chiefs competitive for most of, if not all of Mahomes career.

So far, no matter how tough they have been, Brett Veach is making all the right moves for the Chiefs moving forward.